Cafeteria not paid? US parents threatened with losing custody of children

In a school academy in northeastern Pennsylvania, USA, parents who were slow to pay their cafeteria bills were threatened by education zone officials to be removed from custody. children.
“Your child was sent to school every day with no money and no breakfast or lunch,” one of the Wyoming Valley West School District officials told parents at the beginning of July who were owed more than $ 10 at the restaurant. school.

“This is a failure to provide adequate food for your child,” says the letter, which has been reported in several US media and warns parents that they can, therefore, be summoned to court.

In case of convocation, “the consequences may be (…) the placement of your child in a home,” warns the letter. Contacted by AFP, the officials of the academy did not respond.

Former bastion of the coal industry, the region is now economically stricken.

The total amount owed amounts to US $ 22,000, on an annual budget of US $ 80 million, told the public radio NPR Joseph Mazur, the president of the academy.

He said that this letter followed several waves of reminders, by mail, e-mails, pre-recorded calls and calls made by agents.

“I think you have to pay your bills,” said Joseph Mazur. “All my life, I paid for mine. It’s the same for everyone. Sometimes you have to starve yourself to raise your kids and make sure their needs are met. ”

Asked by NPR about the sum, relatively small compared to the budget of the academy, the president explained that the district had had to remove posts and depriving children of some courses to balance his budget.

“If the board was mean and cruel, he would have asked to stop serving meals (to children who did not have enough to pay), but he did not do it,” he said. pointed out that several parents had paid their bills since the letter was sent.

However, the letter sparked a wave of indignation. “No child should imagine the horror of being taken away from his parents because of economic hardship,” Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey wrote on his Twitter account. “These letters were insensitive and should never have been sent.”

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